How A World Record Inspired Jamie Doran To Travel The World
A British traveller inspired Jamie to set-off on the adventure of a lifetime, leading to a chance encounter.
Several years ago Jamie made the decision to visit every country in the world. Every, single, one.
Speaking to 10 daily, the firefighter explained that he was reading about a traveller named Graham Hughes. Hughes was the first person in the world to travel to every country in the world -- without flying. It took him 1,492 days and saw the filmmaker arrested a handful of times, robbed, and crossing paths with Nobel-prize winners.
For Jamie, reading about Hughes' adventures was like a wake-up call.
"I wanted to be like this Graham Hughes guy," he told 10 daily, so Jamie set out on his own adventure -- one slightly less involved than Hughes, allowing himself the ease of air travel, Jamie decided he was going to visit every country in the world.
With no set deadline, over the years Jamie has been quietly ticking countries off his bucket list, as well as travelling to every state in America.
Then, while he was in the Panamanian province of Bocas del Toro, he had a chance encounter.
"I was in this restaurant and this American couple were talking about [Hughes] at the next table," he told 10 daily. "And they're like, 'You know he's here right now?'"
Hughes was staying on an island in Bocas del Toro, and was celebrating his anniversary of living on the archipelago with a party the next night. A party Jamie was desperate to nab an invite to.
Armed with a tub of Vegemite, some artisanal honey and a six-pack of Coronas (the perfect trio of gifts), Jamie was going to get to meet the man that had inspired his own epic adventure.
"I walked in and this guy just saw me, he ran up to me and I told him my story and he goes, 'I think you're my first groupie'," Jamie said. "I became his wingman for the rest of his time in Panama."
The pair took each other to different bars across Panama over the next week.
"He was a big inspiration for me before and it was just by chance, four months into my four-year journey," he said.
During his travels, Jamie went and lived with a nomadic tribe in Mongolia, travelling across the Gobi desert with them -- a rare experience only made more surreal by the language barrier.
"As you know I talk a lot, right, so it killed me not being able to talk for two weeks," Jamie said with a laugh, "the other problem was... I didn't know what time they'd get up in the morning!"
He spent a lot of time in the Amazon, living with an indigenous tribe there where he was blessed by a shaman. "He hit me with like a stinging plant and everything."
So far, Jamie has travelled to 116 countries, saying that he has his sights set on "the stans" next, "Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan," he said.
And while he's already conquered every state in America, he's keen to head back. "I want to do it again," he said, "this time with a partner."